The effects of intensive training on insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and IGF binding proteins 1 and 3 in competitive cyclists: relationships with glucose disposal

J Sports Sci. 2003 Mar;21(3):147-54. doi: 10.1080/0264041031000070895.


The aim of the present study was to determine whether 4 months of intensified training would result in modified plasma insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 (IGFBP-1) or IGFBP-3 in eight competitive cyclists and eight sedentary individuals and to define the relationships of these factors with glucose disposal. Insulin sensitivity and glucose effectiveness--that is, the fractional disappearance of glucose independent of any change in insulinaemia--were measured with the minimal model (mathematical analysis of frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test). Both glucose effectiveness and insulin sensitivity were higher in the cyclists than in the sedentary individuals, but did not increase further with training. IGF-I was higher in the cyclists than in the sedentary group only after raining (P < 0.05). Plasma IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-3 increased after training (38 and 20%, respectively; P < 0.05) in the cyclists and were higher than in the sedentary individuals (P < 0.05). IGF-I was negatively correlated with insulin sensitivity before and after training (r = -0.66 and -0.67, respectively; P < 0.05) and IGFBP-1 was negatively correlated with glucose effectiveness before andafter training (r = -0.68 and -0.77, respectively; P < 0.05). Our results show that strenuous endurance training improves the somatotrope axis (growth hormone-IGF) and that IGFBP-1 may be involved in glucose homeostasis, possibly by limiting the exercise-induced increase in glucose disposal, in competitive cyclists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 1 / blood*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis*
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 1
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I